There are millions of different illnesses that can affect the general population and a wide variety of them are highly contagious, such as mononucleosis. You have probably heard of this condition under its shorter name, “Mono”. Mono has made its way through schools, families, and even groups of friends as it can be transmitted in a variety of different ways. There are many interesting facts pertaining to mononucleosis and how prevalent it is in today’s society.
1. With the vast majority of illnesses it is important to consider the impact that they have on younger generations as they are generally unable to cope with the symptoms as well as their older counterparts.
2. In terms of mononucleosis, approximately 50% of the children in the United States have been affected by the EBV virus that is responsible for the development of mono.
3. 90% of those cases are classified as subclinical, meaning that there are no symptoms of the infection occurring.
4. In terms of teens and young adults, approximately 50% of them develop symptoms associated with mononucleosis and 50% do not exhibit any symptoms at all.
5. Unlike other illnesses such as Ebola, mono is not a viral infection that commonly causes death.
6. The majority of individuals who succumb to this disease experience death due to the fact that they did not seek the appropriate amount of medical attention that they should have.
7. They may have been suffering from a second medical condition that exacerbated the symptoms associated with mono.
8. According to the World Health Organization there were only 78 recorded deaths associated with a strain of mononucleosis.
9. The country with the highest rate of deaths was Japan (20) and 13 deaths in the United States.
What is Mononucleosis?
Also commonly referred to as the “kissing disease”, mononucleosis is a viral infection that is generally passed from person to person via the transmission of saliva. The symptoms associated with mononucleosis include swollen glands and high fevers. With that being said, the medical ailment may be considered as the kissing disease, but since it is transmitted via saliva it can also be contracted by drinking out of the same glass as an infected person or even coming into contact with a sneeze or a cough. Although it is quite contagious, it is not as contagious as the common cold.
Prevalence in Society
Imagine how many times you have shared utensils with a friend or family member. Now think about if they had mono. The prevalence of mononucleosis is quite high throughout the world, according to the CDC. In the year 2005, Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) has infected at least 98% of the people in the world. The unfortunate aspect of EBV is that it is the primary cause for mononucleosis at least 90% of the time. According to a study conducted by the CDC, over 95% of adults over the age of 30 had been infected with EBV at one point in their lives. As for people who are in their 20’s approximately 35% to 50% of them have been infected.
How Mononucleosis is Presented
When an individual is infected with the illness, they will begin to exhibit a variety of different symptoms including:
• Sore Throat
• Swollen Lymph Glands
• Loss of Appetite
Muscle Aches and Stiffness
There are also an array of symptoms that are relatively uncommon. If an individual exhibits any of these symptoms, it is advised that they seek medical attention as soon as possible as it could mean that the patient may have an incredibly rare and serious medical condition. These symptoms include:
• Rapid Heart Rate
• Light Sensitivity
• Shortness of Breath
The vast majority of individuals who have experienced mononucleosis always seek medical attention due to the severe discomfort and pain associated with the illness. There are a variety of treatments that you may be prescribed ranging from generic over-the-counter pills or even steroids. Since mono is a viral infection and not a bacterial infection, the use of antibiotics is essentially pointless. Tylenol and Ibuprofen are two of the most popular medications that you may receive. For patients who are exhibiting more severe symptoms, they may require a corticosteroid prescription to help your body recover quickly from the illness.
One of the most popular myths about mono is that it generally affects teenagers as they are seen as more “sexually active” individuals who have more opportunities to have exchanges of saliva with others. With that being said, teenagers are not the demographic that experience this viral infection the most as adults are more likely to contract the illness. In comparison to children, teens between the ages of 15 and 17 are at a higher risk to contract mono but still less than adults.